BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — A new bronze sculpture memorializing Alfred C. Kinsey's significant and enduring contributions to Indiana University now sits on the Bloomington campus, marking the 75th anniversary of the institute that bears his name.
Kinsey revolutionized the scientific study of sexual behavior and provoked an international conversation about sexuality. He founded The Kinsey Institute, the world's leading sexuality research institute, in 1947.
The life-size bronze is the work of Melanie Cooper Pennington, a lecturer in sculpture in the IU Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture + Design.
The sculpture's installation on the Bloomington campus demonstrates the university's pride in the living legacy of research and academic freedom Kinsey helped to forge and the institute's ongoing commitment to equity regarding sexual diversity established by Kinsey's research.
The sculpture of Kinsey joins an IU Bloomington campus collection of bronze sculptures representing other pioneering IU faculty members and students, including:
Elinor Ostrom, the first woman to receive the Nobel Prize for Economics.
Hoagy Carmichael, composer and songwriter.
George Taliaferro, IU football legend and the first Black man drafted into the NFL.
Herman B Wells, former IU president and chancellor.
The sculpture, cast in bronze at Bollinger Atelier, was recently installed at a site just east of Lindley Hall, the institute's current home, and not far from Swain Hall, the institute's original site.
Pennington was commissioned to create the Kinsey sculpture in 2021 after a call for proposals. Pennington's large, abstract, mixed-media sculptures of the past decade have largely dealt with the subjects of sex, the power of sexual attraction, reproduction and motherhood.
About Alfred C. Kinsey
A biologist and zoologist by training, Kinsey joined the IU faculty in 1920, becoming a recognized authority on the taxonomy of gall wasps.
In 1938, at the request of IU students, he offered a noncredit "Course on Marriage," with lectures from a variety of IU faculty. As he spoke with students, he realized the lack of reliable scientific information available concerning human sexuality and behavior, and he was inspired to fill what he called "the gap in our knowledge."
Turning to sex research midcareer, he began his sex history project and pioneered interview techniques to gather comprehensive sex histories.
With support from the National Research Council, the original research team gathered more than 18,000 sex histories. Kinsey was responsible for collecting more than 8,000 of these himself.
The Institute for Sex Research at Indiana University was incorporated in 1947, giving legal protection to data, artifact and library collections. The institute was renamed for its founder in 1981. In 2016, the separate corporation was dissolved, the institute merged fully with Indiana University, and the name was shortened to the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University.
Kinsey and his co-workers published "Sexual Behavior in the Human Male" in 1948 and "Sexual Behavior in the Human Female" in 1953, commonly known as the Kinsey Reports. Both books were national bestsellers and scientific landmarks.